We are not strict about budgeting food and every month varies, but we do stay in the $300 range. How is that possible for a family of 4?
Well, we are on WIC. We were going to wean ourselves off of it, but then things got tight the last couple of months so we haven't. I get a little bit of milk (Walmart's is rbst free), cheese, juice, cereal, beans, fruits and vegetables, and whole grain bread. On average it saves us $60 a month. They also offer eggs (but, we get fresh eggs delivered to the house) and peanut butter (Eric is allergic) and we never get all of the milk or juice.
We have a garden. I'm not sure how much it really saves us because we had to build the raised beds and buy the plants and some soil, but it's producing more zucchini and jalapenos than anyone could eat as well as melons, cucumber, tomatoes, and bell peppers. We also have an herb garden with basil, peppermint, chives, and rosemary.
We also choose not to purchase on a regular basis: bottled drinks, snack foods, convenience foods, desserts, and very out of season fruits and vegetables.
So, here is what a month of grocery spending looks like at our house (not counting WIC).
1.5 gallons organic milk
4lbs cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella)
1lb of cream cheese
5lbs butter (wow)
4qts yogurt (1 plain, 3 vanilla)
1qt cottage cheese
1qt sour cream
2 small strawberry yoplaits
2 cans grated parmesan
10lbs all purpose flour
5lbs whole wheat flour
bottle of vegetable oil
4 loaves of bread
1 bottled vanilla Frappuccino (needed that at the moment)
1 small bag of m&m's (Anika announced that she had been good and wanted them and it was true)
lemonade concentrate (for fruit slushes)
1 bag frozen raspberries (also fore slushes)
3 garlic bulbs
1/3lb snow peas
4lbs bell peppers
1lb green beans
small box of blueberries
2 packages of mushrooms
5 lbs pears
1 pineapple (75 cents)
3 organic romaine hearts
10lbs potatoes (baked fries, mashed potatoes, breakfast potatoes, etc)
10oz frozen spinach
5.5lbs ground beef
couple pounds of cube steak
8lbs frozen chicken breasts
2lbs frozen reduced steak for about $2 a lb
flank steak ($7.56!)
bison steak (Eric wanted to try it)
sale frozen pork ribs for about $1.20 per pound
5 bags tortilla chips (we've been making lots of salsa from our garden)
3 bags of tortillas
mayonnaise (on sale for $1.69)
bag of popcorn kernels (we air pop)
6 pack of small raisin boxes
2 cans black olives
oatmeal (plain 5min oats)
4 boxes of Cheerios ($1.31 a box)
small bag of Reisen's (really good sale, couldn't resist)
Grand Total $277.72
With that food we make lots of Indian and Mexican food (cheap!) and grill lots of meat and veggies outside. I've been baking tons of zucchini bread from our garden zucchinis. Eric has sunny side up eggs and toast most mornings (sometimes I don't feel like getting up at 5am) and the kids and I have oatmeal or cereal and fruit. Eric's lunch is almost always leftovers from the night before while the girls and I have sandwich and vegetables or pasta and salad. We drink a lot of water and tea and the girls drink watered down apple juice sometimes. Instead of running to Sonic when it's hot we pull out the blender and frozen fruit. Snacks around here are zucchini bread, air popped popcorn, or fruits and vegetables.
I should say I subtracted the $6 I spent on laundry detergent and the $22 I spent stocking up on toilet paper and the $6.88 on AAA batteries. Even though they were purchased at the grocery store I don't consider them part of the grocery budget.